Seafood Gumbo

This New Year’s Eve, Mark and I had a very traditional Sutherland Family celebration with a quiet evening at home in Chicago. This means staying in your pajamas all day, mimosas in the afternoon, and then a late, leisurely dinner featuring crab. We feasted on king crab, spicy roasted potato wedges and green salad. It was awesome.

The second part of the tradition occurs on New Year’s Day, when you take your saved crab shells and toss them into a pot of chicken stock (homemade, of course), and magically turn it into seafood stock after a short simmer. The resulting stock is nothing short of magical, and begs to be at the center of a meal. The New Year’s tradition in our family means using that stock in seafood gumbo.

I have to apologize to my Southern friends up front – this isn’t a traditional Louisiana gumbo – there’s no roux or okra, but the flavor is just as good as anything I’ve had in a restaurant. I skipped the customary step of beginning with a roux since I wasn’t sure a gluten-free roux would hold up in a soup. I am happy to report that a sprinkling of corn flour on the mirepoix at the beginning of the process and a teaspoon or so of file powder stirred in at the end produced a beautifully thick gravy with no gluten!

Gumbo needs a little kick to it, so don’t be shy with the cayenne and spicy andouille sausage. When you serve the gumbo over brown rice, the spice will be soaked up by the rice just a bit, and provide a nice heat without sending you for the water pitcher. For those who like it really hot, put a bottle of hot sauce on the table, so your guests can dose their bowls to their liking.

Seafood Gumbo
Adapted from Momma Sutherland and
Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 8, serve over brown rice

1 pound small shrimp, shelled, and deveined (if desired), shells reserved
4 cups chicken stock
1 small pinch saffron threads
leftover crab shells (or 8oz bottled clam juice)
2 cups water
1 T oil
1 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 T corn flour
1 14oz can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 T tomato paste
2 bay leaves
8 oz turkey andouille sausage (Wellshire Farms), sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced into bite-sized pieces
1.5 cups diced, cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 tsp gumbo file powder
salt & pepper to taste

Garnishes: parsley, scallions and serve over brown rice

  1. Bring reserved shrimp shells, crab shells (or clam juice), chicken stock, pinch of saffron and water to boil in stockpot or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes. Strain and discard shells. Set stock aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat for a minute or two. Add onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, thyme, salt, and cayenne; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften – about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the vegetables with the corn flour and stir to coat the vegetables. Stirring constantly, cook for two more minutes, then pour in the canned tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally – the mixture will get thick and turn into the consistency of loose paste. Add 1 quart reserved stock mixture and stir. Increase heat to high; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, skim off foam on surface, add bay leaves, and simmer uncovered, skimming foam as it rises to the surface, about 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, stir in sausage; continue simmering to blend flavors, about 30 minutes longer. Stir in cooked chicken and shrimp; simmer until shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Off heat, stir in parsley, scallions, and filé powder. Let rest until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, ground black pepper, and cayenne; serve over about 1/2 cup of brown rice per bowl.

Gumbo: 250 cal per serving (about 1.5 cup of gumbo), 70 cal from fat, 7.8g fat, 155mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 380mg potassium, 15g carbs, 5g sugars, 29.4g protein

Brown rice: 108 cal per 1/2 cup, .8g fat, 22g carbs, 2.52g protein

Chicken Posole

We’ve had a wonderful holiday season. Mark and I spent a few days in Michigan with our friends and family, and we’re now enjoying a lazy week at home. Going outdoors beyond walking the dog seems like way too much work at the moment. An afternoon on the couch with a blanket in my lap and a cup of tea in hand while I catch up on one of our favorite shows, Beyond Everest, seems just about right.

I really should be using this time off to spend a few hours on the elliptical machine to work off some of the sugar I ate last week, but it just doesn’t seem to be at the top of my priority list. Next week I know I’ll hit the workouts hard and lose the sugar baby currently attached to my belly. In the meantime, winter weather calls for a little more soup.

I couldn’t get enough of that pork stew I made a couple weeks ago, and then Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks posted her version of a red posole. I decided to get the ingredients ready for another go at this one. I wanted to lighten the calorie load just a touch, so I used some roast chicken in place of the pork. Taking Heidi’s cue, I decided to cook my own hominy – I wasn’t thrilled with the mushy texture of the canned hominy last time.

I found hominy at one of the Hispanic markets in our neighborhood, and it came in broken pieces. Hominy can hog all the space in a pot of soup, so I thought the smaller pieces would be nice. I soaked the corn overnight, and then cooked it up with some aromatics, and it is SO much better than the canned stuff – it has much more corn flavor, but more importantly, it has a nice toothy, firm texture. If you can’t find hominy at your local market, you can order it from the amazing folks at Rancho Gordo.

Chicken Posole
Serves 6

1 cup dried hominy pieces (I used Goya brand)
1 carrot, chunked
1 stalk celery, chunked
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, whole
2 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 tsp salt
1 T Mexican oregano

Cooking hominy: Place the dried hominy in a large bowl and cover with three inches of water. Soak overnight. After soaking, drain the corn and rinse it. Pour the corn into a 3qt pot, fill with water, and add the carrot, celery, bay leaf, onion, garlic and oregano. Bring to a boil, cook for 30 minutes, then add the salt, and taste a kernel to see if it’s nearly done. It took about 50 minutes to cook the hominy pieces.

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
4 cups chicken stock
1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotles (Muir Glen brand)
1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T corn flour
3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
2 T ancho chile powder
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp coriander, ground
cooked hominy
cilantro – garnish
salt to taste

  1. Cooking the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place in a roasting pan in the oven and roast for 35 minutes. Remove, and set aside to cool while you chop the veggies for the rest of the soup.
  2. Soup: Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle the corn flour over the vegetables, then add the garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cumin and stir for one minute. Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes and stir, cooking for another 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
  3. Add the chicken stock and cooked hominy. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the soup cooks, remove the skin and bones from the chicken breasts (stash the bones in the freezer for making chicken stock later), then dice the meat into bite-sized pieces. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the chicken to the soup and season with salt to taste. Serve each bowl garnished with cilantro.

272 cal/bowl, 80cal from fat, 8g fat, 35mg cholesterol, 790mg sodium, 600mg sodium, 31g carbs, 6g fiber, 10g sugars

Roasted Chicken with Apples, Leeks and Rosemary

How good can a recipe with 5 ingredients be? Turns out – very good. Our friend Debbie sent this one to us, declaring that it was awesome, and since I had all the ingredients in the house, including a half-chicken defrosting in the fridge, I gave it a whirl. The most challenging skill required for this one is mincing rosemary and coring a few apples – if you can handle that, you’re covered.

And as simple as this recipe is, it’s definitely ready for prime-time dinner with friends – the presentation is elegant, and the flavors are the best of fall – mellow, roasted leeks, herb scented chicken with perfectly crisp skin, and soft, sweet apples. Something magical happens to the apples in the roasting. I would never have thought to combine apples and rosemary before, but the combination of the two was incredible – the rosemary added a lovely savory note to the dish.

Apple Rosemary Chicken

from Real Simple
Serves 4

Half a chicken, separated into 2 pieces – breast & leg
4 small crisp apples (such as Empire or Braeburn), quartered
2 leeks, halved crosswise and lengthwise
6 small sprigs fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

  1. Heat oven to 400° F. On a large rimmed baking sheet (or in a large roasting pan), toss the apples, leeks, rosemary, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and nestle, skin-side up, among the apples and leeks.
  2. Roast until the chicken is cooked through and the apples and leeks are tender, 40 minutes.

287 calories per serving; 110 cal/fat; 12.7g fat; 80mg cholesterol; 550mg sodium; 330mg potassium; 21g carb; 3g fiber; 12g sugar

4th of July: Teriyaki Chicken

Happy Fourth of July! I’m sure you’re all spending the day cracking your well-worn copies of the Federalist Papers and appreciating the great minds and great struggle that created this amazing, messy experiment in Democracy that we call America. You might think mentioning the Federalist Papers as overly nerdy, but I can guarantee you that all of my college friends from James Madison treasure their copy as much as I do mine.

Anyway, once you’ve finished with your perusal of our country’s founding, it’s time for the other 4th of July tradition – grilling…and rather than just burgers, might I suggest something a little more exciting like teriyaki chicken?

This is another recipe from the Elon Files. When I first went gluten-free, salmon and lamb were pretty much the only proteins my body could tolerate. My friend Elon was telling me about her favorite salmon marinade on one of many lunch hours where we probably talked mostly about food. This is a pretty simple asian marinade, and it is fantastic on salmon, but I also really love it on chicken or skirt steak. I usually marinade at night, and then pour it over the meat in a storage container the next morning, and let it work its magic while I’m at work. One word of caution – don’t let it marinate more than a day, or the ginger will turn the meat to mush. And the marinade recipe is more like broad guidelines – you’ll have to taste as you go, and balance the salt-sweet-spice-sour flavors to make the balance you like.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Serves 4-6

1 whole chicken, about 3.5lbs
approx 3T Tamari, wheat free
1/2 cup Cream Sherry
2 T fresh grated ginger
1 T honey
squeeze of siracha
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced

  1. Break down your chicken into 6 pieces. What?! You don’t know how? Check out gluten-free girl’s adorable video to learn how to master the art of breaking down a bird.
  2. Make the marinade the night before you plan to grill. Combine the tamari, sherry, ginger, honey, garlic, green onion and siracha in a small bowl. Cover, and stash in the fridge until morning. Before you head out for the day, pour the marinade into a storage container, and nestle the meat into the liquid, skin sides down. When you get home in the afternoon, flip the chicken so that the other side has some time to soak in the flavor.
  3. Grill it up: Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Place breast and leg pieces on the grill, skin side down, close the lid and cook for 10 minutes. Open the grill and flip the legs and breasts and add the wing pieces to the grill. Grill for another 15-20 minutes, until the chicken is done, but not dry. Serve.

Thai Basil Noodles

This is one of those crisper-clean-out dishes that is infinitely adaptable, and very tasty. I love rice noodles, and when I was on my kumquat binge a couple weeks ago, I stocked up on fresh rice noodles at the Vietnamese market. The noodles need only 5-10 seconds submerged in boiling water to be ready for use, so you can pull dinner off in no-time with these, and they’re tastier than dried noodles.

I used thai basil in this, which has a bit more heat and intensity than italian basil, but it could easily be omitted, or substitute cilantro, which would be just as tasty. I added some heat to the noodles with my favorite Sambal Oelek chili sauce – it’s not too hot, and the chilies have heat with a little sweetness. If you don’t have Sambal, add some cayenne to add some heat, or any dried chile you’ve got on hand.

The only real trick of this dish is dealing with the rice noodles. Once you plunge them in the boiling water, you’ve got to get them out of the water, drained, and into the stir-fry, pronto. So remember to take care of the noodles when everything else in the stir fry is done to your liking – that way you drain the noodles, toss them with the sauce, and you’re done. Dinner’s on!

Thai Basil Noodles
Serves 4
8 Weight Watchers Points per serving

Chicken marinade
6 oz chicken breast, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 T soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Sambal Oelek

Combine soy, sherry, ginger, garlic and sambal in a bowl and stir. Add sliced chicken and stir to coat with marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 8 hours. (I do this before I go to work)

1 12oz package of fresh rice noodles
1 T oil
1 cup chicken stock
1 T soy sauce
1 T fish sauce
1 tsp Sambal Oelek
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups raw broccoli florets
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful of thai basil, roughly chopped
3 scallions, sliced
lime wedges

  1. Combine stock, soy, fish sauce, sambal and ginger in a bowl, and set aside. Heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  2. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat. Drain off the liquid from the chicken and marinade. Add oil to the pan and gently add chicken to hot skillet, in one layer (you may have to cook chicken in batches, to avoid crowding the skillet). Sear for 2 minutes, then turn chicken over, cook one more minute, then remove chicken from pan and set aside.
  3. Add a touch more oil to the pan. Add onion and broccoli, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add red pepper and garlic, cook 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the sauce mixture and stir.
  4. Plunge rice noodles in boiling water for 5-10 seconds. Drain quickly in a colander, then add the noodles to the stir fry, and toss to coat. Add chopped basil and scallions, and serve with wedges of lime.

Green Chile Chicken Chili

Here’s a bright green bowl for you in the middle of winter. Chiles are still pretty good from the grocery this time of year, and I always love a good bean soup, so this is a perfect winter bowl. I used yellow-eye beans from Rancho Gordo because they were the only white beans I had on hand, and they were excellent, but I think I prefer the creamier Great Northern bean for this application.

On a gluten-free side note, local writer and mod, David Hammond, recently put together a feature on Chicago Public Radio about the improvements in gluten-free baked goods, and my favorite bakery, Rose’s Bakery in Evanston, was featured. Take a listen!

White Chicken Chili
Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 7
6 Weight Watchers points per serving

1 1/2lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat and skin
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 T vegetable oil
3 medium jalapeño chiles
3 poblano chiles (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
3 Anaheim chile peppers (medium), stemmed, seeded, and cut into large pieces
2 medium onions , cut into large pieces (2 cups)
6 medium cloves garlic , minced
1 1/2 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 lb white beans, cooked, drained (or 2 14oz cans great northern beans, drained and rinsed)
6 cups chicken stock
3 Tfresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
4 scallions , white and light green parts sliced thin

  1. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook without moving until skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and lightly brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate; remove and discard skin.
  2. While chicken is browning, remove and discard ribs and seeds from 2 jalapeños; mince flesh. In food processor, process half of poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions until consistency of chunky salsa, ten to twelve 1-second pulses, scraping down sides of workbowl halfway through. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Repeat with remaining poblano chiles, Anaheim chiles, and onions; combine with first batch (do not wash food processor blade or workbowl).
  3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from Dutch oven (adding additional vegetable oil if necessary) and reduce heat to medium. Add minced jalapeños, chile-onion mixture, garlic, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
  4. Transfer 1 cup cooked vegetable mixture to now-empty food processor workbowl. Add 1 cup beans and 1 cup broth and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add vegetable-bean mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, and chicken breasts to Dutch oven and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until chicken registers 160 degrees (175 degrees if using thighs) on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes (40 minutes if using thighs).
  5. Using tongs, transfer chicken to large plate. Stir in remaining beans and continue to simmer, uncovered, until beans are heated through and chili has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  6. Mince remaining jalapeño, reserving and mincing ribs and seeds (see note above), and set aside. When cool enough to handle, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding bones. Stir shredded chicken, lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and remaining minced jalapeño (with seeds if desired) into chili and return to simmer. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve.

Herb-Roasted Roots & Chicken

I know I just posted a root veggie recipe yesterday, but what can I say?! Not only do I love the delicious tubers, but we are really trying to clean out the crisper, as we get our first BIG monthly winter farm share tomorrow, so we need all the fridge space we can get. And that means eating more roots. Its a tough life, I know.

So tonight we enjoyed one of my very favorite meals – herb roasted root veggies and a half-roast chicken with perfectly crisp skin…this is perfect late fall fare, if you ask me.

Roasted Roots & Chicken
Serves 3

1 serving chicken = 4 Weight Watchers Points
1 cup roasted roots = 3 Weight Watchers Points

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and cubed
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh rosemary, minced
2 T fresh thyme
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 half chicken, about 1 1/2lb

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mince garlic, rosemary, thyme. Combine herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add 1 T of the olive oil, and mix to make an herby paste.
  3. Peel the sweet potatoes and carrots, chop into 1″ cubes. Chop potatoes into 1″ cubes (I leave the skin on), and combine the veg in a large bowl. Mix. Add remaining 1 Tb of olive oil to veggies, along with half of the herb mixture. Stir well, making sure all the veg get some oil and herb paste on them. Spread veg on an oiled, rimmed cookie sheet, making sure that all the veggies lay in one later.
  4. Put veg in the preheated oven, and set a timer for 30 minutes. Stir after 30 minutes.
  5. While the veg cook, dress the chicken. Cut a 1″ slit in the skin between thigh and leg, pushing your fingers under the skin, and sweep around leg/thigh area to separate the skin from the meat. Insert half of the remaining herb mixture under the skin, and run your fingers along the outside of the skin to spread the herbs out on the meat evenly. Repeat the same procedure for the breast, with the remaining spoonful of herb mixture. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with a bit of salt & pepper for extra seasoning.
  6. When the veg timer goes off, remove sheet pan from oven, stir veg, and replace in oven on lower middle shelf.
  7. Place chicken on a small cookie sheet or pie platter, and pop it in the oven, placing the chicken on the middle shelf. Set timer for 35 minutes.
  8. When the timer goes off, remove chicken from oven, and check for doneness. Set the chicken aside on the counter to rest for a few minutes. Give the veg one last stir.
  9. Slice the chicken for serving, remove veg from oven, and enjoy the chicken and veg.